2 min read

Are HTML Lists A Google Ranking Factor?

Are HTML Lists A Google Ranking Factor?

We know that organizing content in lists can improve readability. But are HTML lists part of Google's ranking algorithms?

Ordered and unordered lists are commonly used in web content to present related items, step-by-step instructions, etc. in an organized way.

Using the <ul> element with <li> child elements creates an unordered list that is typically displayed as a bullet list. The <ol> element and <li> children display a numbered list.

Lists can help you organize the text and numerical information on your webpage.

But can they help you rank higher in Google Search results?

The Claim: Ordered Or Unordered HTML Lists As A Ranking Factor

In order for HTML lists to be a direct ranking factor, adding them to your page and how you use them would have to be weighted within the Google search ranking algorithm.We know that some HTML elements are, such as heading tags. So what about lists? Here is example

To make this appear:

Are HTML Lists A Google Ranking Factor?

…would help you rank higher for berries and whipped cream – and, to an arguably lesser extent, heavy cream and sugar – in Google results.

The Evidence For HTML Lists As A Ranking Factor

A 2010 Google patent analyzed by Bill Slawski shortly after its release indicates that (at least, at that time) Google used HTML markup for both unordered and ordered lists in its evaluation of a webpage.

Specifically, the method described in the patent helped the algorithm determine the semantic relationship between words, in its pursuit of understanding the page’s topical relevance. Slawski wrote:

“One part of the process behind this approach involves a search engine analyzing the HTML structures on a page, looking for elements such as titles and headings on a page, unordered lists (<ul>) and ordered lists (<ol>), nested tables, divs, and line breaks (<br>) that might be used to layout a list of items on a page.”
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